Cameroon

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The Republic of Cameroon is a unitary republic of central Africa. It borders Nigeria, Chad, Central African Republic, Republic of Congo, Gabon, Equatorial Guinea and the Gulf of Guinea. Originally a German colony, the former French Cameroon and part of British Cameroons merged in 1961 to form the Federal Republic of Cameroon which in 1972 was renamed the United Republic of Cameroon; since 1984 the country is known as the Republic of Cameroon or République du Cameroun (its official languages are English and French). Cameroon has generally enjoyed stability, which has permitted the development of agriculture, roads, and railways, as well as a petroleum industry. Despite movement toward democratic reform, political power remains firmly in the hands of an ethnic oligarchy. The capital is Yaoundé.

Template:Cameroon infobox

History

Main article: History of Cameroon

The first inhabitants of Cameroon were the pygmy Baka tribes. The Bantu language originated in the highlands of Cameroon, but many of its speakers moved out before foreign invaders came into the nation.

The first European contact was in the 16th century with the Portuguese, but they did not stay. The first permanent settlements were started in the late 1870s, with the German Empire emerging as the major European Power. After World War I though, the country would be split by the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Ireland and the French Third Republic.

In 1961 the French and British portions of Cameroon were united, the French portion having gained independence a year earlier. The new coalition government was led by Ahmadou Ahidjo who led a crack down on rebel groups who had remained since before independence.

Ahidjo stepped down in 1982 and was succeeded by the current president, Paul Biya. Biya has won numerous elections, but the fairness of these elections has been questioned. The last elections were held on October 11, 2004.

Politics

Main article: Politics of Cameroon

The President of Cameroon holds executive power in the government of Cameroon. This provision was part of the reforms instituted in 1996 to the Constitution, that had been originally written in 1972. The President is given a broad range of powers, and is able to carry them out without consulting the National Assembly.

The National Assembly consists of 180 delegates and meets three times a year. The main responsibility of the Assembly is to pass laws, but rarely has it changed any laws or blocked the passage of legislation.

The judiciary is subordinate to the executive branch's Ministry of Justice. The Supreme Court may review the constitutionality of a law only at the president's request.

Provinces

Main article: Provinces of Cameroon

Cameroon is divided into 10 provinces:

Geography

File:Mount Cameroon craters.jpg
Mount Cameroon craters
File:Mount Cameroon from Tiko.jpg
Tiko, Southwest Province

Main article: Geography of Cameroon Location: Western Africa, bordering the Bight of Biafra, between Equatorial Guinea and Nigeria

Geographic coordinates: 6° N 12° E

Map references: Africa

Area: total: 475,440 km² land: 469,440 km² water: 6,000 km²

Economy

File:Tole-tea-back.jpg
tea bag produced in Cameroon

Main article: Economy of Cameroon For a quarter-century following independence, Cameroon was one of the most prosperous countries in Africa. The drop in commodity prices for its principal exports —petroleum, cocoa, coffee, and cotton — in the mid-1980s, combined with an overvalued currency and economic mismanagement, led to a decade-long recession. Real per capita GDP fell by more than 60% from 1986 to 1994. The current account and fiscal deficits widened, and foreign debt grew. Yet because of its oil resources and favorable agricultural conditions, Cameroon still has one of the best-endowed primary commodity economies in sub-Saharan Africa.

Despite rapid urbanisation, the single largest economic activity in Cameroon is subsistence agriculture, in which virtually all of the rural population is employed.

Demographics

File:Maison obus.jpg
photo from the north of Cameroon
File:Bamun sultan palace.jpg
The palace of the sultan of the Bamun people at Foumban, West Province

Main article: Demographics of Cameroon Cameroon's demographic profile is comprised of an estimated 250 distinct ethnic groups, which may be formed into five large regional-cultural divisions:

  • western highlanders (Semi-Bantu or grassfielders), including the Bamileke, Bamun (or Bamoun), and many smaller Tikar groups in the Northwest (est. 38% of total population);
  • coastal tropical forest peoples, including the Bassa, Duala (or Douala), and many smaller groups in the Southwest (12%);
  • southern tropical forest peoples, including the Beti-Pahuin, Bulu (a subgroup of Beti-Pahuin), Fang (subgroup of Beti-Pahuin), Maka-Njem, and Baka pygmies (18%);
  • predominantly Islamic peoples of the northern semi-arid regions (the Sahel) and central highlands, including the Fulani (or Peuhl in French) (14%); and
  • the "Kirdi", non-Islamic or recently Islamic peoples of the northern desert and central highlands (18%).


Culture

Main article: Culture of Cameroon

Holidays
DateEnglish Name
January 1New Year's Day
February 11National Youth Day
May 1Labor Day
May 20National Day
August 15Assumption
December 25Christmas

In addition, movable holidays include: Christian: Good Friday, Easter Sunday, and Easter Monday Muslim: 'Id al-Fitr and 'Id al-Adha

See also: Music of Cameroon, List of writers from Cameroon

Education

Main article: Education in Cameroon Cameroon is known for having one of the best educational systems in Africa. Primary school is both free of charge and obligatory. Statistics say that 70% of all children in ages between 6-12 years go to school. 79% of the Cameroon population can read.There has been an increasing trend of the smartest students leaving the country in recent years to study abroad and end up settling there, the so-called "brain drain".

Miscellaneous topics

File:Tikar family.jpg
a Tikar family in the north west

External links

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Education

Government

News

Overviews

Ethnic Groups

Directories

Tourism


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